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Samsung 3 Review

Great and inexpensive machine for simple tasks
Best Buy Award
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Price:   $230 List | $204 at Amazon
Pros:  Fast web browsing
Cons:  Keyboard feels flimsy, loud trackpad
Manufacturer:   Samsung
By Max Mutter and Steven Tata  ⋅  Apr 9, 2018
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55
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 7
  • Performance - 25% 6
  • Interface and Features - 20% 5
  • Display Quality - 20% 4
  • Battery Life - 20% 5
  • Portability - 15% 8

The Skinny

The Samsung 3 is a no frills Chromebook that keeps everything simple. It doesn't have a touchscreen, but does provide the speed of 4GB of RAM and a decent typing experience. If you just want a simple, inexpensive machine for checking emails or as a spare computer while you're traveling, the Samsung 3 isn't a bad choice. If you're looking to use android apps and multitask to your heart's content, you're going to need to upgrade to one of the higher end models.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Samsung 3 didn't particularly impress in our testing, but it provides a decent experience for general web surfing. As a spare computer or for someone that only needs to access email, it is a great low priced option.

Performance comparison



11.6 inch models  like the Samsung 3 above  generally have 720p resolutions. While this resolution looks good on a smaller screen  it doesn't feel cinematic.
11.6 inch models, like the Samsung 3 above, generally have 720p resolutions. While this resolution looks good on a smaller screen, it doesn't feel cinematic.

Performance


The Samsung 3's 4GB of RAM earned it a decent score of 6 out of 10 in our performance testing.


We were able to stream high definition music videos and still open up enough other tabs to get some work done, all without inducing any lag. If we were streaming and got the tab count into the double digits we did notice some small delays when using Google Sheets, but this represented the most taxing environment a normal user was likely to create. Most of the time we went on blissfully browsing with no lag, feeling like we were using a traditional laptop. The Samsung 3 has 16GB of internal storage and a micro SD card slot that allows you to expand beyond the 16GB.

Ports


The Samsung 3 has a charging port, two standard USB ports, an HDMI port, and a headphone jack.

Interface and Features


We would describe the Samsung 3's interface as good, but not great.


It had our least favorite keyboard, largely due to its keys feeling flimsy and loose. This caused us to type with much more caution than normal, as the keys just didn't seem durable. This feeling definitely got annoying during extended typing sessions. We also weren't impressed with its trackpad. It had a reasonably nice glide to it, but the click was so loud that our coworkers ended up putting on their headphones when we were using it.

Overall these annoyances are no big deal if you're just using the Samsung 3 for general web browsing and email. If you're going to be doing a lot of typing we would strongly recommend upgrading to something like the Samsung Pro instead. It costs more, but your fingers will thank you.


Display Quality


Like most of its attributes, the Samsung 3's screen is just on the good side of mediocre.


Its 11.6" screen may feel small if you're used to a more traditional 14" laptop, but as browsing and video watching on tablets and smartphones becomes more common 11.6" is starting to feel downright big. The 1366 x 768 resolution is slightly better than 720p. While this is technically high definition, those that value a clear picture may want to opt for something with full high definition 1080p, though this will cost a bit more.

Battery Life


The Samsung 3 was an average performer in our battery life testing, falling into the 5 hour range. Our test used a looped video and maximal screen brightness, so it would last longer if you were just typing with a dimmer screen.


Portability


The Samsung 3 picked up an average score of 7 out of 10 in our portability testing.


At 2.5 pounds it feels light and definitely won't weigh down your carry on bag. The 11.6" size is significantly smaller than traditional laptops, which tend to start at 14" and go up to 17". Therefore it feels very packable and doesn't require a bag with a dedicated laptop sleeve (though a laptop sleeve certainly makes it feel better protected). That being said, new models that offer larger 12" screens actually weigh less than the Samsung 3.

The Samsung 3 ( middle) is smaller than most laptops  but not ultra compact.
The Samsung 3 ( middle) is smaller than most laptops, but not ultra compact.

Value


The Samsung 3 lists for $230. This is towards the lower end of the models we tested, and we feel like it is a great deal if you're looking for a simple and inexpensive machine.

Conclusion


The Samsung 3 is a generally well designed Chromebook that has the performance benefits of 4GB of RAM. In an age when Chromebooks are getting fancier and thus more expensive, the Samsung 3 is a decent, simple, sub $300 machine.



Max Mutter and Steven Tata